Women and girls comprise over two-thirds of the estimated 40 million people living in modern slavery today. They are disproportionately affected due to gender inequalities that deny them their rights, limit their choices and opportunities, and expose them to risk.
Drawing on the Freedom Fund’s experience in our hotspot programs around the world, this report brings together our learning on how best to support women and girls, mobilise communities, shift gender stereotypes, and start to change the systems, policies and practices that put women and girls at risk of modern slavery.
The report identifies key areas where gender inequality and discrimination increases the risks of exploitation, trafficking and abuse faced by women and girls: lack of access to decent work; vulnerability to unsafe migration; exposure to violence and abuse; and lack of access to education and training.
It argues that anti-slavery interventions should incorporate gender-specific strategies – including raising awareness, promoting women’s leadership, and harnessing the power of groups – to support women to challenge gender inequality and discrimination and build protections against exploitation and trafficking.
And it argues that systemic change – to tackle the underlying causes of gender inequality and modern slavery – is also necessary to break the cycle and to see an end to both gender injustice and modern slavery.
Supporting women and girls who are victims, survivors or at risk of modern slavery requires a comprehensive, multi-layered response. We hope that the ideas set out in this report can play their part in an effective, inclusive and empowering approach to tackling and ending the exploitation and trafficking of women and girls.
Photo credit: Geneva Global/Jenna Mulhall-Brereton